Who do you feel the most pity for? Snape or Wormtail?
I have learned that the answer to this question depends a great deal on what things you hold as most important in your list of virtues. How you feel about Snape is completely subject to how you feel about the power of active choice in defining who you are. How you feel about Wormtail is subject to how you feel about betrayal.
For me personally, here is a list (of some) of the failings that I find absolutely the most despicable in the whole world:
Betrayal- There are a lot of things I can overlook. I am a patient person when it comes to many, many issues that people have. But betrayal is utterly unforgivable. It is a rare case indeed in which I can find it possible to forgive a devastating betrayal. And these cases almost always involve redeeming themselves by sacrificing their life to save the other person from the situation that they were in because of the disloyalty. (Thus proving that the betrayal wasn't complete or whatever. Yadda Yadda, fineprint.)
Displacing responsibility- Blaming your bad choices on things that you can't control because you think that you are infallible. Never accepting the fact that you aren't perfect. Pretending like weakness of will is something that you were born with, and not an active choice you make. "The devil made me do it". Well, if that excuse doesn't work for God, it sure doesn't work for me either. This also includes not living up to potential because of a "disease". Sure, maybe there are things that are harder for you, but if you don't even try, you'll accomplish nothing at all. And this one is big on my list because it's hard for me. And if I can do it, you can do it.
People DRAMATICALLY underestimate what a simple act of will can do. Even being stressed out about something is partially determined by choice. I am speaking completely from personal experience on that. And I really hate that people don't get this idea. Choice is pretty much THE biggest factor in almost anything. Your actions define you. Not petty excuses. And yes, even "Voldemort made me do it" is a petty excuse. It's pathetic. Any kind of "I couldn't help it" is pathetic. You're handing the remote control over to someone else and telling them to take over.
I will get shot in the face at point blank range before I let someone force me to betray something important like the lives of my best friends. That is a choice.
Arrogance- I guess this ties in with the last one a lot. Thinking yourself infallible. Raising yourself up as high and mighty. Ugh. Hate it. SO. MUCH. Which is probably why I will never like James Potter.
Fakeness- Why do I hate Umbridge more than any other bad guy in any other book? Because she is SOOOOO evil, but she has this absolutely revolting facade of sweetness. It seriously makes me barf. At least Voldy is straight up about it. Well, and also because she's very real, and so well written. That helps. But dag.
Or like in high school where people put on shows so that they can be popular, but they're all lies. Yeah, soooo annoying. Webs of duplicity. Weaving nets of lies and deceit. Blah. I'm blunt and to the point. Just tell me how it is.
Stupidity- Not like being less smart than someone else IQ wise. But choosing to ignore the fact that you do actually have a brain. Both in the sense of feeling like being smart is too unpopular to bother, and in the form of not using common sense.
Well, there are other things that I HATE more than anything else in the world, but I can't really think of them right now. These are just so high up on the list, and on my mind right now because of the Snape discussion. And betrayal is probably always number one in whatever mood I'm in.
I think that also very effectively explains why I will never, ever have even the remotest bit of sympathy for wormtail the deatheater scum.
And it also explains why Barbara and I will never agree on this issue. Because it is clear to me now that her most hated pet peeves list is extremely different than mine. And therefore, the answer to the question is going to be steered in a totally different direction.
And I really, really, really wish I could explain myself better. I go back and read this and it just sounds lame and retarded to me. Not cohesive or anything. THAT is another pet peeve, but not a personality disorder, so we won't go into it.
Oh, and there's one more thing I just thought of on why we will never agree on this. It's the head thinker vs. heart thinker problem. Barbara, you are a totally head thinker. And, as much as I'd like to pretend otherwise, and as much as I really hate to admit this, I am a definitely a gut reaction, feel everything type that just happens to have a logical method behind my madness. I like to try to ignore this, but it's useless.
That's partly why I feel for Snape. When I read the part inside his memories, I can't not feel his anguish when he cries over Lily or his helplessness when he can't save people that voldemort kills. It makes me die inside just a little. I cried as much when Snape found the picture of her and wept over it as when dobby died. I'm a closet bawl-baby. It doesn't show in front of people.
And you are probably correct on that account. If there was as good a reason behind Wormtail that I got to experience firsthand, I might feel for him too. Might. And it would have to be really good. At the very least I could pity. But that doesn't exist. And I really don't feel like his reasons are good enough.
K, this time I really am done.